The UK bribery act came into force on July 1st 2011. New amends to the Act include ‘passive’ and ‘active’ bribery, in which ‘active bribery’ is classed as the giving of the bribe and ‘passive’ as the receiving. Section 7 includes a new offence, in which organisation that fails to prevent individuals associated with them from bribery on their behalf can be prosecuted. Individuals who break legislation could face up to 10 years in prison and companies could suffer unlimited fines. Therefore it is important for all organisations to be aware of the changes and to implement procedures to prevent bribery. General guidance is available from the Ministry of Justice and guidance for a procurement professional is available in the knowledge area.
CIPS CEO David Noble commented on the new rules.
"The six principles of the Bribery Act are all dependent on an effective and compliant procurement and supply management department. Because bribery comes in many guises, the effective management of close relationships also comes into play as procurement is ‘high risk’ when it comes to associations and partners.
The only way to ensure compliance across the board is to have robust and detailed policies and procedures in place, though this will vary depending on the size of the organisation and expertise available. Large corporates will have more risks to be mitigated against and any compliance and commitment to the Bribery Act must come from the top.
A culture of complete intolerance to any forms of bribery must be implemented in all organisations and procurement departments, and fast.
Procurement professionals will be under intense scrutiny in the coming months and years and must hold themselves as an exemplar. The biggest change with the Act is the differentiation between passive and active, so asking for a kick-back is as serious a breach as actually receiving one. We have long held our members to our code of ethics where bribery is a complete no-no, so it’s good to see that the rest of business, organisations and all types of trading will come into line. Reputation and integrity is all."